Amanda just had a frightening experience with the woman at the Proactiv kiosk in her hometown of Hattiesburg, Mississippi: “[Mall security] told me to come over and get away from her because she would not stop yelling, and refusing to do anything until I was out of her sight.” [Update: we've received more information on who to contact to resolve this issue. Check out the bottom of the post for details.]
Today my boyfriend and I went to our mall in Hattiesburg, MS. It is a very small city and only has one mall so it is the one by default we are forced to go to.
My boyfriend about three weeks ago purchased Proactiv Solutions. First of all, when we went three weeks ago we were forced to purchase the more expensive, larger version due to the fact that they were out of the thirty day trial kit.
He was very hopeful that it would work, he decided to try Proactiv because of me and results I have seen with friends and family who have also used Proactiv.
We went today to return the package, a process that Proactiv claims is easy! After we arrived to take back the product the woman at the kiosk started to verbally HARASS us! Upon giving her the box she opened it took one look inside and said that it did not work because it was being used improperly, when it had been used in only the ways it was specifically outlined in the product guide to use. She also stated my boyfriend had used too much of the “Repairing Lotion.” This would make sense if she could have seen through the bottle or actually picked it up and felt how much was in it, but she did no such thing. The woman went on to say that if we were going to use it again, to use it properly. And to that my response was, “we are not going to be using Proactiv again.” Well, that is when I asked her to give us back our money, and that is when she started going off, asking me who I was and why it was any business and why I was even there!
This made me angry, and I told her that we just wanted the money back, and we did not want to here how we were supposed to use the product.
She felt harassed by us so she called security on me. Then when I asked to get the receipt back, she refused to give it back, and then upon me asking for a number to call to complain she covered up all of the numbers and refused to talk to me telling me that she couldn’t receive anything until security got there. All of this in the middle of the only mall in a small town. So I waited for security, and upon coming over and listening to her yell at him, he told me to come over and get away from her because she would not stop yelling, and refusing to do anything until I was out of her sight.
I was forced to leave the mall all because Proactiv REFUSED to allow us to return the product easily without being harassed. What has happened to customer service? what happened to the customer is always right? Does a guarantee only function as a guarantee after you withstand the harassment?
The customer is not always right, because sometimes the customer is a complete jackass. But it sounds like in this case, you were dealing with a crazy person who doesn’t believe in taking any sass-back from kids these days, or who figures if she acts psychotic enough she’ll scare away customers who try to return products.
However, Proactiv makes it very clear on their website that you can return the product within 60 days, no matter how much you use or how well you feel it worked. Their “guarantee” page simply states,
If you’re not totally satisfied with the results, simply return the bottles within 60 days, even if they’re empty, for a complete refund of the purchase price (less shipping & handling).
There’s no fine print on the page, and none we could find elsewhere on the site, and no mention of having to show proof of purchase in the form of a receipt. There’s also no mention of kiosk sales falling under a different return policy, so it seems pretty clear that Proactiv has to take your return.
At this point, we suggest you escalate the problem beyond the Krazy Kiosk Lady and contact Proactiv directly to negotiate a return. You should also—regardless of whether you succeed in returning the product—write a clear, polite letter to the company describing how badly you were treated by this woman, how she confiscated your receipt, and how she refused your return and basically got you kicked out of the mall. They need to know that their kiosk employee is badly representing the company. The main thing at this point is to be polite, but persistent, and make it clear to Proactiv that you expect them to honor their no-risk return guarantee.
Oh, and let your boyfriend do this if he’s the one who paid for it.
An anonymous tipster writes:
I worked for several years at EDS, which is the home of Proactiv’s customer service center (that you listed in the article – the Des Moines office).
Unfortunately, calling the call center won’t do much good. They’re not authorized to take back kiosk purchases, since they have no customer account. They’re just for the infomercial and online orders. They’re just going to tell the person to take it back to the kiosk.
What they want is Guthy-Renker Corporate. Regular customer service can’t transfer you and agents/supervisors don’t have the corporate number (at least when I was there).
A quick Google search turned up the address:
41550 Eclectic St
Palm Desert, CA 92260
Yes, the kiosks and the vending machines are owned by Guthy-Renker corporate. They have been very reluctant to franchise out product except abroad (citing quality concerns, internally, but I doubt that – probably a money thing). Guthy-Renker even has an eBay store to compete with people who were reselling Proactiv (this is actually fulfilled from the same building, a giant warehouse/call center, in Des Moines that the infomercial stuff comes from).
Proactiv is owned by G-R and they are a large infomercial company that has sold many other products, e.g. Anthony Robbins CDs/DVDs, Windsor Pilates, Sheer Cover, Cindy Crawford’s Meaningful Beauty, Susan Lucci’s Youthful Essence, Core Secrets, and many other failed products. Proactiv is one of their most successful products.